A Salford woman has broken the Guinness world record for being the fastest backwards female runner, after completing the Wiggle Manchester half marathon in two hours, sixteen minutes and eight seconds on Sunday.

Shantelle Gaston-Hird, who works at the ITV studios as an Audience Co-ordinate Production Secretary, edged out San Diego’s Justine Galloway who previously held the record by 3 minutes and 37 seconds.

The backwards runner is no stranger to Guinness World Records either after holding the record previously between March 2017 to January 2019, however claimed Sunday’s effort was her “Best yet.”

This showed after reclaiming the world record beating her previous time by 11 minutes and 6 seconds.

In an interview with Shantelle Gaston-Hird she explains how she got into the sport ‘retro running’.

“I was looking for activities that were non-drinking based, although they can be quite fun aswell, just to see what sort of activities are out there in Manchester, and engage in doing something different.

“That’s when I came across backwards running, when I first saw it I thought who on earth would do this, it’s absolutely ridiculous.

“We went along to Heaton Park and did it and there was about sixty people in total and we were all running backwards and we literally had the best time ever.

“So that’s how I initially got into backwards running.”

Describing the experience she endured when achieving the world record, she says “It was amazing, I did get worried at a few points in the race because it’s a massive, massive event and there was a few points where it was very congested.

“There was lots of obstacles throughout it but when I got over that finish line I was like thank god!”

To check out the full interview see the video below:

Gaston-Hird who comes from Irlam was sponsored by the mental health charity ‘Young Minds’ in the process of reclaiming her record telling UK Sports Chat :”I want to show others it is ok to stand out from the crowd. Who wants to be ‘normal’ anyway. The charity I am supporting helps children and young adults with their mental health. If we can give them the tools to help manage their mental health at a young age just imagine all the incredible things they can achieve in the future.”


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I did it! I had the support of an incredible team and the event organisers were amazing but I broke the Guinness World Record for the fastest female to run a half marathon – 2 hours 16 minute and 3 seconds. This also gave me a 11 minute personal best time. More importantly I help raise money and awareness to YoungMinds mental health charity for children and young people. . . I do have to give a massive shout out to Holt cc for there amazing t-shirts/ logo printing to help promote the Retro Running World Championships next year. And let’s all talk about how great the banana shorts are from Happystride. . . It goes to show consistant training and determination gets you results. Happy Monday everyone. . . #retrorunning2020 #running #backwardsrunning #manchesterhalf2019 #manchesterrunning #womeninsport #womenfitness #womenrunning #rehabilitation #manchester #manchestersport #determination #thisgirlcan #thisgirlcanrun #youngminds #inspiringyoungminds

A post shared by Shantelle Gaston-Hird (@running_retro) on

Shantelle Gaston-Hird has completed 5 marathons and 8 ultra marathons (between 38 and 55 miles).

In 2017 Shantelle summited Kilimanjaro and completed the National 3 peak challenge (Ben Nevis, Scafell Pike, and Snowdon in 24 hours).


While growing up Shantelle played roller derby for 6 years and also competed in karate and taekwondo events.

Shantelle started competing in middle distance triathlons last year and set out with the goal to qualify to become a GB age-group triathlete and will find out in November if she has qualified.

Gaston-Hird has created ‘Retro Mile’, a one mile backwards family friendly fun run.

The Retro Mile events run on the first Saturday of every month at 10:00 am and is located at Cadishead Rhinos ARLFC Ground.

To see how you can get involved in backwards running visit the Retro Mile website here.


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